Today we visited Mount Rainier National Park. We left Alder Lake Campground and headed east to the park. On the way in we passed many small waterfalls, all caused by snow melt. We also came across some really large ones including Christine Falls, pictured below.
Christine Falls from the viewpoint below the highway bridge
The road climbs quite a bit and you get some nice views of where you have been. The picture below shows the Nisqually River, which is really quite small at this time. However, it can fill and carry rocks and trees and other debris quite a distance.
Once we arrived in Paradise, we went first to the visitor center and watched the movie about the park. This movie was one of the best ones we’ve seen in a National Park (we consider ourselves experts on NP movies now having been to so many recently!)
Then we went back to the car to eat our picnic lunch as it was already 1:45. We were parked facing the mountain and had a great view watching people playing in the snow and hiking up the glacier. In fact, the mountain was really awe-inspiring.
This is the view we had at lunch from the car.
I think the picture is somewhat distorted by the windshield as the mountain is actually much taller and “looms over you” at this location.
After lunch we went to the Paradise Lodge. We had seen this lodge highlighted on a recent PBS show on National Park Lodges. (Rainier was the 5th NP created). So it was fun to see it in person. They get so much snow here that it covers the lodge to a depth of 30 feet each year. Needless to say, they are closed in the winter months!
I did see a weird sign inside the lodge. It read “An unique view.” Now I know that is grammatically correct, but it just does not sound right when you say it. I think “unique” is one of those words we need an exception for in the rules!
We then went to the east portion of the park. We stopped at box canyon which is actually a 120 foot deep gorge in the rocks with a river running through the bottom. This gorge is maybe 10 feet wide at it widest! We walked a path on both sides of the canyon that went maybe 4/10ths of a mile. Then onto the visitor center at Ohanapecosh. This is a relatively small center but had an excellent diorama of native animals including a fuzzy looking bird we saw earlier in the day.
From there we returned to the RV at about 6pm with a real sense of this national park. While we are leaving tomorrow, I’m sure we will be back!